The second annual Ride London visits Kingston twice this weekend – but the return of the world-class cycling festival has divided opinion amongst residents and businesses.
Kingston will be the only town cyclists visit twice as they make their way to and from Surrey Hills during the weekend event on August 9 and 10.
To celebrate, Memorial Gardens will hold a bike festival and the Ancient Market Place will have a seaside themed event including a giant sandpit and beach stalls alongside cheering spectators.
But with 26 rolling road closures across the borough including Kingston Bridge and Portsmouth Road, some residents have complained the Olympic legacy event now in its second year, will cause too much disruption.
Tolworth resident Jackie Kerkham said: “It's like being under house arrest.
“It's either stay at home or find somewhere to go that is off the cycle route.”
A shop worker said: “Having to get to work is a nightmare, getting home is a nightmare, and then the day drags as we have very few customers as everyone is either avoiding the shops or are only there to watch the cycling.”
Video: Last year's Ride London through Kingston
Coombe Road resident Carl Kember, 76, whose road will be closed most of the day, said he had suggested a brochure detailing diverted bus routes, but town centre managers Kingstonfirst and Kingston Council had not followed through.
He said: “They promised it would be better. But it’s not better. People need to know where to get the buses from. Coombe Lane West and Coombe Road – the two main arteries into Kingston from the north are cut off.”
He added last year race marshals had little knowledge about how residents could get about.
But businesses who suffered from poor sales last year are beginning to get behind the annual addition to the Kingston sporting calendar, according to Jerry Irving from Kingston Chamber of Commerce.
He said: “On the face of it for some businesses it’s difficult because it interrupts their trade but businesses are now beginning to realise the long term benefits. It puts Kingston on the map.
“I think businesses are feeling far more positive. They are beginning to get behind it and seeing it as a great event.”
Kingstonfirst marketing director James Kennedy posted a message on Facebook group Kingston Upon Thames No Fakes saying: “I know Ride London is a controversial event, we have tried this year to really help people with bus changes and road information.”
He directed people to Kingstonfirst's website, which features downloadable bus change information and a town centre map.
More information, including a full list of road closures, is available at kingston.gov.uk